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Notetaking for hearing impaired

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Hearing impairment is the most common congenital anomaly in newborns. Unilateral or bilateral involvement can cause students to be held back in school at least one grade, and therefore must rely on assistive devices to access the same information as normal students. Today, although limited in number, there are a few devices, referred to as Computer Aided Notetaking (CAN), which students may use to enhance their learning.


One such device is an FM device which operates via radio waves. It requires the instructor to wear a small transmitter and microphone and this directly transmits the speaker’s voice into a receiver connected to the student’s hearing aid. The drawback to this device is that only the speaker’s voice wearing the transmitter is sent to the student. When there are multiple speakers, the student is very limited.

Audisee is an example of the FM transmitter. It is manufactured by Audiosoft of Canada. The Audisee is composed of a dual transmitter worn by the instructor with a microphone for the FM component and also a camera for the visual component. The voice and live images are transmitted wirelessly to the student with a receiver and monitor placed at their desk.

Real Time Captioning

Another common option is for students to use real time captioning (RTC). Using this method, whatever is being spoken in the classroom is transcribed and transmitted by professional captioners using a stenotype machine. This is connected to another computer which is used by the student. Captioners must be able to type at least 225wpm, and their services can range from $40-150 per hour.

There is also software available, called the Stereotype System, designed to provide real-time access to deaf and hearing impaired persons to participate in lectures, meetings, etc. The wireless system allows a group of networking computers to access the same information that the "Electronic Note-taker" is transcribing. One can also make his/her own notes on their personal receiving device which can be accessed later for their own use.


Stover D, Pendegraft N. Revisiting Computer-aided Notetaking. Clearing House [serial online]. November 2005;79(2):94-97. Available from: Academic Search Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed December 6, 2009.